Creativity, motivation, releasing anxiety and more… all areas where many claim incense can benefit (depending on what you’re burning). But there are also many ways you can burn in incense.
Cone, stick or resin? What type of incense do you use? Believe it or not, all incense is not created equal. Like anything, there’s a crunchy version and a synthetic version. While there are a few studies about the dangers of incense the main points I have about the incense is “What are you burning?” and “How’s the ventilation in the room?”
In order to not release dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air which can cause harm to your body. You don’t want these VOCs in your home! But there are ways to help purify the home… but I digress.
Direct burning is usually done in the form of incense sticks or cones in which you directly apply heat and burn causing the aroma. When it comes to cones in the cone actually burns the incense with less smoke as there is no wood to burn. You also have to make sure the incense is scented in natural incense and not synthetic which can also be harmful to your health. The wood inside the incense also needs to be “clean” wood as it burns as well.
Resin incense is the most common for of indirect burning. You put the resin on charcoal and burn the charcoal, in turn burning the resin. The traditional way would consist of taking coals from a fire putting it on a stone (or non-flammable surface), then placing the resins or loose incense herbs over the charcoal to release the smell. The important aspect here is to only buy the herbs or resin from place you trust. You have to ensure the product is pure. (Omg I sound like I’m talking about drugs “Make sure the product is pure”, but seriously that’s important). I get mine from my local health food store that I trust.
You also have to make sure the charcoal you’re using is pure also. I use this one made from coconut husks.
There’s also bamboo charcoal that is a better alternative than regular charcoal which often has additives to burn faster and longer, these can release VOCs into your home… (BOOOO!)
WHAT’S SO BAD?
Well, I don’t know exactly what could be in your incense but neither do you. The exact type of pollutants released into the air (and your home) depends on the chemicals present in the incense being burned. That’s why I’m a crazy person when it comes to gettin only pure and natural incense and charcoal. Whether you choose stick, resin or a cone incense, choose something clean and pure to the best of your ability and stay away from synthetic incense.
FINDING THE GOOD STUFF
Incense De Santa Fe
It’s a cone type incense in the shape of a rectangle. This company offers 7 different types of natural wood incense made in the US. There is also a sample back where one could try all the offering for a good price.
Its a modern twist on incense cones. Their most popular mix is called Blood Countess, a dragon’s blood resin and frankincense Combination to lift the mood and add some edge.
It’s a Japanese specialty brand that isn’t too pricey but has been around a very long time! These are natural and trusted brand.
This is the brand my local health food store and local Whole Food’s offer. It is a natural brand with ingredients I can understand (Yay me!). These also offer the tradition scents like frankincense and myrrh that aren’t blended so you decide for yourself on the scents you like.
Also check out your local health food store to see what they offer for incense, just make sure you read the packaging to ensure there’s no artificial or synthetic fragrances.
Essential oils can be used to help calm the mind and relieve a the stress and anxiety of everyday life.
Instead of banging your head on the wall, try these essential oils. Remember everyone's body chemistry is made differently. Just because one oil doesn't work for you, try another before giving up. Also don't force it. If you hate the way one oil smells don't use it!
You can use these in an inhaler (15-20 drops), with a carrier oil on your body (12 drops per ounce for a typical 2% dilution) or in a diffuser(5 drops per 150ml).
Lavender- This is the oil you're most likely to have in your cabinet already. It has been used to beat stress, depression and anxiety. There is a full review in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice (2013).
Vetiver - It has a smokey spicy woody type scent. My husband isn't really a fan of this oil but I love it. According to a 2015 study on rats, vetiver oil is used in aromatherapy for relaxation. The study showed vetiver has anti-anxiety abilities similar to the drug diazepam. It is a grounding oil. I read in The Healing Power of Essential Oils that is has also been used to help with ADHD.
Ylang Ylang - It has a floral scent but I love it. Besides being and awesome "get it on" essential oil. Ylang Ylang is great for anxiety.
Orange oil - It smells orangey (haha) There are studies that show orange oil used to help with presurgical anxiety in dental patients and it did in fact help!
You can use these oils alone or try a mix to see what you think .
Of course if you are under a doctor's care or taking prescriptions talk to a doctor before taking any oils.
There are many ways to do the same thing. Essential oils sprays are an example of that. I share my recipe and a video of another recipe! The bottle to the right is a 2ml bottle. I like to use dark glass bottles to ensure the mixture holds for as long as possible.
The way I make it is using witch hazel, grain alcohol (like Everclear) essential oils and distilled water. The grain alcohol will mix with essential oil and allow it to mix with the water and witch hazel. Essential oils on their own do not mix with water. Witch hazel and grain alcohol will also help to ensure bacterial won't overgrow. (but if you notice a change in the smell or color then it may be rancid)
If you're using a 2ml bottle then 20 drops each of the Everclear, witch hazel and essential oils. Mix these all together then add the distilled water and shake shake shake!
I hope you know what I mean by the onion arms. I mean if you have a middle school kid, I'm sure you do. I'm "au naturale" but I don't want to smell like the natural outsides right? So what do you do about deodorant? You may ask. Or you may ask what's wrong with the regular old deodorant and antiperspirant? Well, I'm glad you asked.
Traditional deodorant contains aluminum as a main ingredient. This is what acts as an antiperspirant. It basically clogs your pores says no sweat shall pass.
Now, remember what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. Aluminum in the body can mimic estrogen, and could really mess with your hormone levels. There are also studies saying it is linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer. So yeah, let's err on the side of caution with that right?
I'll link a good article from Times if you want more detailed description than my non medical degree can give.
Once my Toms phase was over I discovered Schmidt's at my local health food store. It's a little more expensive than Tom's ($8.99 on their website) but it works. No you won't stay dry but you will smell good all day. They also have some great scents! My favorite is the Ylang Ylang & Candula. I've also tried the Rose & Vanilla but for me it is overpowering and I don't love rose that much. But if you love floral smells it is perfect for you!
I love the various essential oils Schmidt’s use. But please note if you’re allergic to an essential oil in the deodorant get a different scent. The hubby used a their bergamot deodorant and he was red and itchy under his arms and who wants that?
These not crunchy enough for you? Then forget deodorant all together and use a lemon! I know, you’re looking at me like “Ashley has lost it” But no, try it for a day… or when you’re out of town and don’t pack deodorant by accident. Where would I get a lemon out of town you are asking? Room service or those areas they have the tea and coffee they usually have lemon wedges right? Seriously, just slab some lemon juice under your arms and you’re good to go.
It works! Read more about my love for lemon pits here.
You said Brad Pitt does it so you want too also right? Oh, that’s not the reason you want to learn about lemon as deodorant? What about when you’re out of town and don’t pack deodorant by accident. It’s perfect for that moment. "Where would I get a lemon out of town?" You're asking? Room service or those areas they have the tea and coffee they usually have lemon wedges right?
Seriously, just slide a lemon wedge under your arm and you’re good to go. Beware, if you just shaved you may want wait before applying lemon but I do it right away with no issues.
The science behind it. Lemons have tons of potassium and magnesium in them. And by tons I’m definitely being as specific as I can. These minerals both have antibacterial properties which Is part of the reason under arm sweat skins right? Bacteria. Plus, lemon can balance pH when it is applied to the skin. If that isn’t enough, the citric acid in the lemon helps kick any odor as well. I’m telling you it works.
Remember it isn’t a antiperspirant, you will sweat… It just won’t smell horribly. Not saying you stink, just admitting I do when I forget deodorant. But my mom is a nurse practitioner and tells me sweating is important so I’ll take her word for it and you should too. But if you don’t here’s a link to a post on sweating.
Try it for a day and let me know how it goes!
Stretchmarks are a right of passage for motherhood. Buttttttt if you could minimize that right of passage, you probably would right? Well, moisturizing the skin and keeping it elastic so it can stretch to fit a little human, is the best game plan. While nothing is fool proof when it comes to strechmarks here are a few oils to help! These are also great for skin with eczema
I'm a mom of 3 girls and a husband who I converted to the crunchy life. I buy a lot and try a lot so you don't have to.